Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baseball: Rookies

I am going to periodically update this blog with more baseball references.  Because frankly, I have been getting writer's block lately with regards to my more political posts.  I think that it may be affecting the quality of work that I churn out.  So whenever I feel like this, I will be focusing on writing more baseball related pieces.  Sorry, in advance.

I used to subscribe to Baseball Digest and they would occasionally turn out all-rookie teams, I always found this exercise entertaining.  Additionally, I always thought it was strange that baseball doesn't have more end of season awards.  Because, who doesn't like having debates about things that ultimately don't matter.  I decided to construct a 25 man roster using only rookies.  This is the All-Rookie team for 2013.  I'll have a little blurb about why I picked who I picked at each position.  This is not an indication of who I think will have the best career, but rather the best 2013 season.  At the end, I will indicate who I choose for Rookie of the Year in each league.

Note: All WAR used is calculated by Fangraphs

If there are terms that I use that you are unfamiliar with, you should use this helpful baseball dictionary.

Catcher

Rookie catchers are notoriously rare.  Well, I should qualify this.  Rookie catchers who are able to grab significant playing time are rare.  In 2013, there was only one rookie catcher who appeared in more than half of the games played by his team (81), that was Evan Gattis.  Gattis only played 105 games.  He was able to grab so much playing time, in part, because of Brian McCann's injury.  Gattis's value was entirely because of his bat.  His wRC+ was 110, which means he was 10% better than average hitter.  That type of bat is very valuable at the catcher position.  Gattis's on-base percentage (OBP) was below .300, in fact, no catcher had an OBP of greater than .295.  Gattis led all rookie catchers in WAR at 0.9.  While WAR is not the end-all be-all of stats, Gattis is clearly the best choice for starter at catcher.  In constructing a true 25 man roster, there should be another catcher on the roster.  Stephen Vogt and Anthony Recker have nearly identical WAR (0.5 and 0.4) and wRC+  (90 and 89).  Vogt leads Recker in OBP .295 to .280, but Recker leads Vogt in BB% 8.6% to 6.1%, meaning that Vogt's OBP might be inflated by his batting average, where he holds a 37 point lead.  Despite this likely inflation, I choose Vogt over Recker.

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
wRC+
ISO
Off
Def
Bsr
WAR
Evan Gattis
382
.243
.291
.480
.329
110
.237
3.9
-6.8
-0.2
0.9
Stephen Vogt
148
.252
.295
.400
.301
90
.148
-2.2
2.1
-0.5
0.5

I'll be relying on charts to explain the picks from here on out.  With less words for the blurbs.

First base

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
wRC+
ISO
Off
Def
Bsr
WAR
Matt Adams
319
.284
.335
.503
.365
136
.220
11.9
-5.6
-1.1
1.7
Josh Satin
221
.279
.376
.405
.346
124
.126
3.9
1.5
-2.0
1.3
Darin Ruf
293
.247
.348
.458
.354
125
.211
5.2
-12.9
-3.0
0.1

This one is a little bit more difficult.  While Satin holds a substantial lead on Adams in OBP, Adams holds a commanding lead in Slugging percentage.  With only 25 spots on a roster, there is only room for one first baseman, I choose Adams.

Second base

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
wRC+
ISO
Off
Def
BsR
WAR
Jedd Gyorko
525
.249
.301
.444
.325
110
.195
6.6
0.5
0.8
2.5
Scooter Gennett
230
.324
.356
.479
.364
131
.155
9.3
1.1
1.3
1.9
Anthony Rendon
394
.265
.329
.396
.318
100
.131
1.1
1.1
0.9
1.5
Nick Franklin
412
.225
.303
.382
.304
90
.157
-5.1
-4.7
-0.3
0.4

This one is more difficult, still.  Gyorko created more total value over any other rookie second baseman, but it is important to note that WAR is a counting stat.  Since Gyorko has over 300 more plate appearances than Gennett, it's clear to see why Gyorko has more WAR than Gennett.  But Gennett's rate statistics are the best at the position.  But Gyorko also provides additional value as a versatile defender.  While I choose Gennett as the starter, I will choose Gyorko on the team, as well.  Rendon was a collegiate third baseman who shifted to the keystone when he became a professional.  He provides additional value as a bench bat and fielder.  Something that, as we'll see, will be important for the team. 
Starter: Scotter Gennett
Bench: Jedd Gyorko, Anthony Rendon

Third base

The only real choice is Nolan Arenado.  Arenado who was not considered a very good defender in the minor leagues, but in the Major Leagues, he has proved to be a plus defender at the hot corner.  Arenado's offense leaves something to be desired but Arenado will likely improve as he spends more time in the Major League and adjusts to pitching.  Without any other real options, Arenado is the choice.

Shortstop

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
wRC+
ISO
Off
Def
BsR
WAR
Jose Iglesias
382
.303
.349
.386
.327
102
.083
-0.2
4.1
-1.2
1.8
Brad Miller
335
.265
.318
.418
.323
103
.154
3.7
1.3
2.6
1.7
Jordy Mercer
365
.285
.336
.435
.333
113
.150
3.8
-1.5
-1.7
1.4
Didi Gregorius
404
.252
.332
.373
.311
91
.120
-3.6
4.0
0.4
1.4
Munenori Kawasaki
289
.229
.326
.308
.290
78
.079
-5.1
3.0
2.1
0.8
Iglesias's defense was impressive but his offensive stats were buoyed by his high BABIP.  Not that it should be a determining factor, here.  For the roster construction of this team, though, I think that Jordy Mercer is the better fit.  He leads in the major offensive categories for rookie shortstops.  Miller had a good overall season but unfortunately does not make the team.

Starter: Jordy Mercer
Bench: Jose Iglesias

Outfield

Name
PA
AVG
OBP
SLG
wOBA
wRC+
ISO
Off
Def
BsR
WAR
Yaisel Puig
432
.319
.391
.534
.398
160
.215
25.1
-0.7
-4.2
4.0
A.J. Pollock
489
.269
.322
.409
.321
98
.140
0.4
18.5
1.5
3.6
Juan Lagares
421
.242
.281
.352
.275
75
.110
-11.5
25.4
0.5
2.9
Wil Myers
373
.293
.354
.478
.357
131
.185
13.5
-3.1
0.4
2.4
David Lough
335
.286
.311
.413
.316
96
.127
-0.5
11.2
1.1
2.4
Marcell Ozuna
291
.265
.303
.389
.304
90
.124
-1.9
8.4
1.2
1.6
Christian Yelich
273
.288
.370
.396
.341
116
.108
9.5
-5.0
4.6
1.4
Junior Lake
254
.279
.332
.428
.335
109
.144
0.9
2.8
-1.6
1.2
Khris Davis
153
.279
.353
.596
.406
160
.316
10.9
-4.7
0.5
1.2
Kole Calhoun
222
.282
.347
.462
.351
126
.179
8.0
-4.8
1.4
1.1
The seasons was largely defined by Yaisel Puig and his on the field exploits, as well as his celebratory antics.  Puig made the game more exciting, for all.  He, also, had a great season and should be recognized, as such.  Puig is one of the starters for the all-rookie team.  The off-season was defined by a trade of one of these rookies, Wil Myers, by the Kansas City Royals.  Myers lived up to the hype once he was finally called up by the Tampa Bay Rays.  He is the second starter for the all-rookie team.  Pollock had league average offense while he was able to provide significant value with his glove out in the field for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He is the third starter for the team.  Because of the make-up of the team, I believe there should be a significant bat off of the bench.  Khris Davis had a great, albeit, short season with the bat.  He definitely deserves a spot on the team.  Unlike current roster construction, I believe that there should be more hitters than pitchers on the roster.  For the final spot for position players, I select David Lough.  He, too, provided league average offense while providing value with the glove.  The roster would allow Lough to be a late-inning defensive replacement while having to be, at least, respected with the bat.

Pitchers

For pitchers, I have decided to eschew the usual call for a starting rotation and instead select 11 pitchers, overall.  

SD's stand for shutdowns and MD's stand for meltdowns.

Name
IP
K/9
ERA
FIP
xFIP
fWAR
RA-9
SD
MD
Jose Fernandez
172.2
9.75
2.19
2.73
3.08
4.2
5.7
0
0
Hyun-Jiu Ryu
192
7.22
3.00
3.24
3.46
3.1
4.0
0
0
Julio Teheran
185.2
8.24
3.20
3.69
3.76
2.4
3.6
0
0
Gerrit Cole
117.33
7.67
3.22
2.91
3.14
2.3
2.3
0
0
Trevor Rosenthal
75.33
12.90
2.63
1.91
2.34
2.2
1.2
25
11
Shelby Miller
173.33
8.78
3.06
3.67
3.73
2.1
3.2
0
0
Danny Farquahr
55.67
12.77
4.20
1.86
2.40
1.9
-0.1
18
5
Dan Straily
152.33
7.33
3.96
4.05
4.42
1.9
1.5
0
0
Martin Perez
124.33
6.08
3.62
4.23
4.04
1.6
2.3
0
0
Alex Wood
77.67
8.92
3.13
2.65
3.18
1.6
1.1
0
1
Sonny Gray
64
9.42
2.67
2.70
2.92
1.5
1.5
0
0
Tony Cingrani
104.67
10.32
2.92
3.78
3.49
1.3
2.3
1
2
Chris Archer
128.67
7.06
3.22
4.07
3.91
1.2
2.7
0
0
Alex Torres
58
9.62
1.71
2.31
3.30
1.3
1.9
13
6
Michael Wacha
64.67
9.05
2.78
2.92
3.36
1.1
1.6
0
1
The 11 pitchers I have selected for the team are as follows:

Jose Fernandez
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Julio Teheran
Gerrit Cole
Shelby Miller
Trevor Rosenthal
Alex Torres
Sonny Gray
Dan Straily
Martin Perez
Alex Wood

Rookie of the Year ballot:

There is not a rookie who set the world on fire in the American League like there was in the National League.  Most of the rookies in the American League are basically bunched up right against each other.  So, it really becomes a coion flip at a certain point.  But I think that Myers's overall offensive contribution and value seems to give him an edge over everyone else.
3. Jose Iglesias, SS, Boston Red Sox/Detroit Tigers
2. Martin Perez, SP, Texas Rangers
1. Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays

With all due respect to all of the other rookies in the National League, the real battle is between two Cubans.  It's either Yaisel Puig or Jose Fernandez.  Third place is really just a coin flip for everyone else. But I personally think that Ryu provided the most value over the other candidates that would come in third place.  As much as I enjoyed Puig's season, I think that Fernandez's overall value, especially when you look at RA-9 wins at 5.7.  Fernandez's ERA for the season was a spectacular 2.19.  His FIP was very impressive, as well, at 2.73.  Fernandez's total value gives him the edge over Puig, to me.
3. Hyun-Jiu Ryu, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Yaisel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
1. Jose Fernandez, SP, Florida Marlins

 
  

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